Images via LeatherSpa
On the heels of my Building a Wardrobe post on shoes (pun intended), I thought it would be appropriate to post on my recent shoe repair experience. Don’t worry, I plan to continue my Building a Wardrobe series with an upcoming post on Essential Accessories.
Last week, I picked up my black Christian Louboutin pumps at the West 55th and 5th location of LeatherSpa (The other locations are at Grand Central Terminal and The Plaza.), after finally dropping them off for heel and sole repair. The shoes had been sidelined in my closet for an embarassingly long number of months. LeatherSpa is one of two shoe repair services recommended by Christian Louboutin. I’m certainly no stranger to shoe repair services, but this was my first experience with LeatherSpa. When I dropped off my shoes for repair, I was offered two options for repairing the partially scuffed signature red soles. I wish I had taken before and after pictures, but alas, I didn’t. Check out LeatherSpa’s website for their Before and After examples. LeatherSpa presented me with two sole repair options:
1. Have the red soles repainted. This is the most expensive option and of course will restore the shoe to its original appearance.
2. Have the red sole partially covered with a durable protective sole cover.
It wasn’t an easy decision for me, and even though painting the soles is more expensive and not as long lasting as the protective sole, I chose to have the soles painted.
When I picked up my Louboutins, after receiving an email notification that my shoes were ready, the soles were partially covered with protective material! I showed the sales associate the receipt stating that the soles were to be painted. She agreed that the soles were supposed to be painted and not covered. At first I thought I would have LeatherSpa remove the protective cover and repaint the soles, but the thought of having to make another trip to LeatherSpa to pick up the shoes made the idea seem less desirable. So I told the sales associate that I would just take the shoes as they were, so long as I had the option in the future to have the cover removed and the soles repainted. She said that this would be possible. A man neatly dressed in what appeared to be an Italian button down shirt and pants appeared. He apologized for the mistake, admitted that he did not like the way that things were done, and told me that my repairs would be 50% off. I appreciated how apologetic the employees were at LeatherSpa and the 50% discount for the mistake. Instead of my repairs costing $84, they ended up costing $42, even though the mistake did not affect my entire repair bill. I left the store with my shoes inside one of LeatherSpa’s brown and orange cloth bags with the LeatherSpa insignia printed on it.
In addition to the fine customer service I experienced at LeatherSpa, I couldn’t help but notice that it was a finely run operation. I’m accustomed to the standard NYC shoe repair store: a place dingy with shoe polish, overflowing with shoes that are sometimes contained in grocery store plastic bags, and manned intermittently by the same person who repairs the shoes. At LeatherSpa, the appearance is pristine. It looks more like a boutique than a shoe repair business. The employees are dressed in crisp uniforms of brown polo shirts and black pants and the shoes, which are repaired at a separate repair facility, are stored out of sight. I wouldn’t use LeatherSpa for every pair of shoes I own, as I believe their prices tend to be higher than the norm. I recommend finding an excellent local shoe repair shop. Repairs can extend the life of your shoes and make your money go further. I also hold this belief when it comes to handbags. The piping is often the first place where a leather handbag will show wear and tear, and this area can be fixed easily by a quality shoe/leather repair shop. When I picked up my shoes at LeatherSpa, I actually ran into a friend of mine who was having a handbag repaired.
For special items, such as Louboutins, or complicated repairs, I highly recommend the services at LeatherSpa. Even if you don’t live in the NYC area, you can mail your items to LeatherSpa’s repair facility in Long Island City.
Do you have a good shoe repair place? Have you tried LeatherSpa? Any thoughts or experiences regarding the Louboutin sole repair dilemma?